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soriano outfield fansIt’s no secret that Alfonso Soriano was poorly treated by some Chicago Cubs fans from around 2009 through 2011. It’s a shame that it took a resurgent 2012 season on the field to remind fans that Soriano – however large the contract he was offered and accepted – has always been a hard worker, a great teammate, and often an excellent baseball player.

But was Soriano ill-treated not only by some fans during that era, but also by the Cubs front office and managerial staff?

Speaking about his turnaround in 2012, and how much better he’s feeling going into the 2013 season, Soriano complimented the current administration by way of contrast with the former.

“More important is this organization changed things around, and now I feel like part of the team, part of the organization,” Soriano told Gordon Wittenmyer of his news bosses, including Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Dale Sveum. “Those guys talked to me, and they were honest with me.

“The last few years, nobody talked to me, and they [treated me] like I’m the negative thing on the team,” Soriano continued, speaking about the pre-Epstein/Hoyer/Sveum era. “When we won, it was fine. But when we lost, everybody pointed at me like it was my responsibility that we lost …. Now if we lost, we lost like a team; if we won, we won like a team.”

It’s a fairly strong indictment of the lack of cohesiveness in the organization during those years, given that Soriano is roundly considered one of the best clubhouse guys in baseball.

Now we’re left to wonder about the chicken and the egg: is Soriano’s positive attitude about the new staff a byproduct of his successful 2012 season, or did he break back out in 2012 because he finally felt comfortable and wanted?

The irony, of course, is that this administration has been very open and honest with Soriano about the possibility of a future trade. Fortunately, it seems Soriano does not take that as an indication that he’s not wanted. Instead, it’s simply a recognition of Soriano’s value, which might be higher on another team right now than it is on the Cubs. Instead of feeling like the Cubs just want to get rid of him, Soriano might now understand that the Cubs simply need to be realistic about the near-term future, and need to get value for Soriano right now, if that’s possible.

Of course, Soriano and this front office are very much on the same page when it comes to the ideal outcome: he has another great year, the Cubs surprise everyone, and there’s no reason to trade him midseason, because the Cubs are fighting for a playoff spot.

  • MightyBear

    And that last paragraph is exactly what is going to happen!! Go Cubs! This is the year baby!!

    • wgalan

      lmao at all this,Im not a coach or a GM and unlike most dont pretend to be. But I am a huge cubs fan and what I think would benefit the team in a huge way right now while Garza is hurt. Maybe its a good time to put him on the mound and have him toss about 3000 balls to first base. He looked like a drunk monkey last year throwing to first

  • DocPeterWimsey

    “The irony, of course, is that this administration has been very open and honest with Soriano about the possibility of a future trade.”

    It might not be ironic (and, congrats for actually using the word correctly!). Sometimes people appreciate honesty and communication, even if it’s not 100% what they want to here. (Usually 95% what they want to hear is the limit, though.)

    • pete

      Being honest with employees is always a good option, especially when it is combined with the willingness to be coached that Sori showed. Bat size and McKay’s OF coaching come to mind.

      And, correct me if I am wrong (and I know someonewill), but didn’t Sori also say that last year was the first year anyone in the organization worked with him on his OF defense? That tends to corroborate his allegation about previous management.

  • CubFan Paul

    Maybe they pointed the finger at Sori because he insisted on leading off when he was better suited to drive in runs lower in the order.

    Lest we forget.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I wasn’t aware that he made out the lineup. He may have voiced a preference, but he batted where the manager placed him in the lineup.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        No, Sori knew how to fake Lou’s handwriting: Fonzi would sneak behind Lou, switch the lineups right before Lou went to the umps, and then stuff the “true” leadoff guy into one of the lockers. People wondered what the banging and shouting was, but otherwise they were none-the-wiser.

    • King Jeff

      Lest we just pull things out of our rear ends and declare them facts: From 2009:

      “At this moment, it’s not my decision, it’s Lou Piniella’s decision,” Soriano said. “He’s the manager. He wants to do what’s best for the team. I’m open to him.”

      Spring Training would be the perfect time to experiment, too.

      “If Lou wants to do that, I think now is the right time,” Soriano said.

      The Cubs were 69-36 with Soriano as the leadoff man last year, yet he’s been queried about whether he’s right for the spot since his arrival.

      “I’m not tired about [talking about] it, but it’s interesting,” Soriano said. “Every year, it’s the same question. I don’t know about this year. We’ll see.”

      So, where would he like to hit in the lineup?

      “[Just] be in the lineup, that’s my preference,” Soriano said, not picking one spot. “I like to play and be in the lineup. That’s more important to me than anything.”

      • CubFan Paul

        How nieve.

        • King Jeff

          I am assuming you mean “naive”. If it’s naive to believe things that the actual people involved have to say about the situation rather than buying into every negative conspiracy theory I can find and running with them as fact, then color me “nieve”.

          • CubFan Paul

            It’s called auto text dick. Get your panties out of a bunch.

            My original point before you went all asshole in your first reply: Soriano wasn’t batting leadoff because Lou penciled him in there. Soriano was batting leadoff because he insisted to. Your one set of quotes from one article doesn’t paint the whole story on the issue. I know this because I’ve seen every game (and news/quotes) that Sori has played in Cubs uniform (..minus the WCIU broadcast)

            • King Jeff

              And I am telling you that your point comes from rumors and hearsay. You fail to provide any proof except that you believe that’s why Soriano was leading off for so long, yet you write it off when I post actual quotes on the situation. I will continue to go asshole when replying to you, because you continually pull the same crap.
              As much as you hate it, it’s an idea that Dale Svuem thought about with when he took over the team, but of course, Soriano probably told him that’s the only way he’d play for Dale, right?

              • CubFan Paul

                Try getting laid. Or if you’re flexible enough, blow yourself Jeff :) have a nice day.

            • TWC

              “It’s called auto text dick.”

              You know, there’s a salve for that. I’m sure the pharmacist will be discrete.

              • CubFan Paul

                After I looked up salve, I laughed. Hilarious.

                • King Jeff

                  Try pulling your head out of your ass, it stinks up the place when you talk.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    All right. Can we all just take a step back from the edge?

                    • CubFan Paul

                      Maybe he was hacked.

                    • King Jeff

                      No, it was a response to you telling me to “get laid”, calling me an “asshole”, and telling me “to blow myself”, and “not get my panties in a wad”. I thought it was a fairly tame response.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              You claim to know this because you watched the games. So, what about watching the games provides any evidence for how the lineup was decided? (That’s somewhat rhetorical: it’s about as relevant as the position of Mars, after all.)

              • TWC

                Every time Soriano does his little hop, Mercury goes retrograde.

                • frank

                  So that’s it–and I thought Soriano did the hop to celebrate Mercury’s retrogradiating . . .

                  • Bric

                    Hey Weather Channel- fun fact: not only does Mercury retrograde in relation to the Earth (similar to passing a car moving slower than you on a highway and the other car appears to move backward as you pass it) but also due to it’s very slow rotation in relation to it’s motion, occasionally the Sun appears to move from west to east for short periods on Mercury. Just thought I’d add.

              • CubFan Paul

                Lineup construction was talked about from day one Sori started playing in Chicago. Everyone (or so I thought) knew he was a big baby about privately, which is why it was a constant issue/media questions.

                • CubFan Paul

                  Pesky Facts.

            • preacherman86

              I am not positive about this but if Dale Sveum has more respect and authority in year one as a manager than hall of famer lou pinella then call me naive. The day a rookie manager comes in and has more sway than a hall of fame manager is the day me shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbert!!! Sori may have voiced an opinion, heck he may have last year, but he didn’t force himself into hitting leadoff, nor did Lou simply succumb to Sori’s “demands” as Lou didn’t even give into to an umpire’s call much of the time, and what they say is definite! It was a multitude of issues that kept Sori hitting leadoff, namely no one else in the Cubs organization that could do it any better and he had experience there. p.s. Dale is a heck of a manager, not taking anything away from him or his staff!

    • cub2014

      sori had a good year last year but lets not forget why
      fans and management were mad at him in past years.
      It was lack of hustle, in the field and running to first, throwing
      to the wrong base. Looking like he didnt care, you can
      blame some on managers for not disciplining him. But
      some has to fall on Soriano. He still had his lazy moments
      last year.

  • BluBlud

    I feel as though Sori has always recieved unfair criticism. IMO, when healthy, he has performed. I think people blame him for his contract, but faulting anybody for performance after recieving a contract is absolutely unfair. Like the great NBA player Rashard Lewis once said, “don’t blame me, I didn’t offer myself the contract.” I’m not a fan of giving non Cubs prospects big contracts, but Sori has earned every penny of his money.

  • itzscott

    Let’s see….

    Watching Soriano striking out on balls pitched in the dirt, over his head or a foot outside….

    Mr. “No-Clutch”…..

    The “K-King” when it counted….

    Watching his wall-a-phobia….

    Watching him botch catchable balls hit to him….

    Watching balls getting by him because he was too lazy to put his glove down as they rolled under his mitt…..

    That stupid hop….

    And this dope is crying in his spilt milk about how fans treated him????

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think you really read much of what he said, or what this was actually about. You did, however, successfully live into the “some fans” discussed in the post.

      • itzscott

        Brett, I read everything you wrote.

        I also saw him play throughout the years prior to 2012. I’m certain you saw the same things I did and my comments weren’t exaggerations…. they were the norm.

        So, in defending him you’re basically implying that $18 million per year is money well spent with no expectations other than being a good clubhouse guy and one decent year out of six.

        Yes, I blame the previous regime too. Soriano was supposed to be the new happy face of the Cubs that ignited fan hopes and excitement. All about marketing the Cubs at the time and very little about much else.

        Unfortunately, as fans, many of us saw it differently.

        • King Jeff

          “So, in defending him you’re basically implying that $18 million per year is money well spent with no expectations other than being a good clubhouse guy and one decent year out of six.”

          That’s a pretty big leap.

        • Hansman1982

          So…Soriano is just a whiner when we have numerous other players the org treated like crap once they were done with them?

        • BT

          Yes, 4 out of 6 years with a WAR over 3 certainly counts as 1 “decent” year.

          • Saving grace

            Sorianos war for the 6 years is as follows
            2007 4.1
            2008 1.9 and he only played 109 games, so not good
            2009 -1.8 yes minus
            2010 .6 point 6
            2011 – .3 yes minus again
            2012 1.8

            i only see 1 year over 3 and 2 minus years and 3 under 1

        • VanSlaw

          I’m certain you saw the same things I did and my comments weren’t exaggerations…. they were the norm.

          Can we settle on norm-gerations?

    • BluBlud

      I can definitely think of some clutch moments by Sori. A walk off Grand Slam is the first thing that comes to mind.

      • King Jeff

        He had at least 4 game winning rbi’s last year, but he has struggled in the past in those situations. It’s not like any other Cub had been doing any better when it mattered though.

    • VanSlaw

      Yeah, what a dope! Let’s boo him! FOR VOLUME WILL MAKE MY CRITICISMS APPEAR TO AKE SENSE!

      BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

      (And that goes for your Little LaTroy, too! Booooo!)

      And . . . scene.

      • VanSlaw

        “AKE” SENSE? YOU’RE SUCKIN’ DOWN TOO MANY OLD STYLES OUT IN THE BLEACHER SUN THERE, SLAW.

        BOOOOOOOO!

    • King Jeff

      Thanks to my friend Cliff on Twitter [img]http://img.viame-cdn.com/photos/d74e4af0-787e-0130-6fd5-12313d2a2d34/r600x600.jpg[/img]

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Actually soriano should have taken a lot of heat. Take a look at his post season stats, erratic season play and poor defense. He is just lucky he didn’t get attacked by some fans.

    • King Jeff

      Barry Bonds was awful in the postseason too. Suggesting that a player should be “attacked by some fans” if they struggle just shows the type of person you are and how little we should pay attention to your posts.

      • Dale’s Ear

        Bonds wasn’t consistently good in the playoffs but he raked in the year the Giants lost the World Series to the Angels. He hit 8 bombs that postseason and had an OBP of .700 in the Series, with a 1.294 SLG%. Those aren’t just gaudy numbers they’re absolutely ridiculous. But yeah, being physically attacked by fans is so far outside the spectrum of a reasonable reaction to poor performance that if you actually believe that it should happen you should probably take a long look at your priorities in life.

      • hansman1982

        Who are you talking to?

        • Dale’s Ear

          If you’re asking me my first part was to Jeff and my second one was talking to Willie, idk if he meant attack as in like verbal attacks which happened like crazy, or if he meant that Soriano was lucky that some fans didn’t physically attack him.

          • hansman1982

            I was talking to Jeff. It was a cutesy way of addressing the last line in his comment.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      None of the Cubs played well in the ’07 and ’08 playoffs. Occam’s Razor comes to mind all of a sudden.

      At any rate, the tiny sample sizes that are post-seasons mean next to nothing. Even on the teams that make the WS, there are batters who have really good looking numbers for one or two series and poor looking numbers in the next. There are lots of reasons for that, with “Pot Luck” leading the way, followed closely by “the opposing pitchers.”

      (It’s even tougher with the pitchers: they get 1 or 2 games, and they have good stuff or they don’t: and if they don’t, then the opposition usually is good enough to take advantage.)

      • frank

        As a former Philosophy major, I LOVE the reference to Occam’s Razor!

  • myporsche

    My guess is 2.5 million will come see this team during the season

  • FFP

    I became a Cubs fan partly because I appreciate great management, and I like it even better when players know the difference.
    Maximize all of our potentials. I love this.

  • Rizzo 44

    Magic at Wrigley this year. The Cubs will win the Division with the young guys coming up after the all star break. Solar will be In RF, BJax will be in CF, Soriano will stay in LF, we will make a trade for a 3B, Castro will hit 25 HRS, Rizzo will destroy the NLC, Barney will have another Gold Glove, Castillo will put up very nice numbers, and the Pitching Staff will have a great year. The Cubs will win 90 games and play the Braves or the Giants in the NLCS. Just my opinion. I know most will say this is never going to happen… It’s a new year and nobody thought the O’s or the A’s would be as good as they were last year so we shall see. The Cubs will score 800 runs this season. That’s 187 more than last year I know.

  • Mike

    Sign a contract for big dollars, people want the world from you. If you can’t give them the world, they won’t like you. I have no sympathy for Soriano.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    wow unreal how soft the cubfans have become. maybe next the cubbiewubbies will start a campaign titled:soriano for first ballot hall of fame when he retires. the only time he has a good season is when his TEAM loses 100 games.the guy will never be a winner or perform on a winning team.

    • JoeyCollins

      “the guy will never be a winner or perform on a winning team.” Real bold prediction there considering he probably only has two years left and is still on the Cubs.

    • King Jeff

      You mean besides the 3 division winners and the world series teams he played on with the Yankees and the two division winning teams he was on with the Cubs right? Because other than half his career, he totally hasn’t been on a winner or performed for a winning team.

      • pete

        Quit confusing the issue with facts.

        • notcubbiewubbie

          thanks pete you got the idea of where i was coming from.

          • AB

            wow, read it again. Pete wasn’t supporting your obtuse position.

            • notcubbiewubbie

              like i said first ballot hall of famer;paid like albert pujols performs like louis pujols.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Yankee fans still talk about the Sori’s HR off of Schilling that (in their minds still) *should* have won the ’01 WS.

  • terencemann

    The old Bill James idiom that teams/fans will blame their best player for their failures comes to mind. Maybe Soriano isn’t the best Cubs of the last few years but he’s certainly one of the better players.

    • Die hard

      Yea after Aram left he’s next tho he did better

  • Saving grace

    He should of taken a lot of heat from the former regime.
    His ’09,’10’11 stats were bad.
    2011 he had a .284 obp
    His obp,slg and avg were bad
    He stuck out at a high rate and was a mid 20’s hr hitter who couldn’t crack 80 rbi and quit stealing bases.
    Coupled with his ridiculous contract and we all wonder why no one wants him

  • cub2014

    My big complaint with Soriano wasnt his contract,
    his hustle and perceived attitude were. Even if he
    was an all-star he was hurting the team. It would be
    the managers or managements fault for not benching
    him when he didnt run out a pop up or he jogged to the
    wall after a ball he misjudged. He seemed to change in
    2012 maybe it was new management or Zambrano being
    gone. I dont know but his hustle and attitude seemed much
    improved last year. Obviously his defense was way better
    last year.

  • Die hard

    Free Agency like what gave the Cubs Soriano will kill the game —- would like to see the stats on every free agent contract comparing their last half of the contract with the first half…. Suspect won’t be pretty

  • DONNIE621

    I might be wrong about this… please let me know if I am. But I sort of remember that the full spectrum of the deal for Soriano kind of blind sided Jim Hendry. If true he had to feel they dealt him a bad hand and it hindered his ability to maneuver. That being said Sori up until last year was no where near worth what he was paid by the Cubs. I also believe that Theo was not happy with being stuck with the contract either when he came over… until last year of course. So now he feels the Love I’m happy.

    Possibly his feelings about Hendry is turning him off on the Yankees.

  • Wild jimmy

    I know this may sound like the crushed fan or some other type of fan but I have never seen a player as “unfriendly” as he has been. I have met almost all of the cubs players at spring training over the last 8 years. Most have signed something for me or responded nicely. I have been the only fan around soriano multiple times and he won’t look you in the eye. It seems like he goes out of his way to avoid fans or have his driver sneak him out of the stadium. I am not mad or hateful toward him but I honestly think this shows a little of his personality especially compared to others on the team.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Nice post. No wonder the soriano apologists stop posting their nonsense here after the story you told.

      The guy is a disaster.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        “Nice post. I hate the Cubs, so anything negative about the Cubs is good.”

        • CubFan Paul

          When I sat in the LF bleachers last August, Sori was the NICEST guy ever! After EVERY OUT Sori turned to the bleachers to give us the number of Outs Every Time, Over Both Shoulders, and Always with a Smile. Had I caught one of the balls he was tossing into the bleachers, it easily would of been my best ballpark experience.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            And that’s the thing about these kind of anecdotes – they’re worth sharing, and I like hearing them (on both sides), but these players are just people. They have good days and bad days (and good weeks and bad weeks).

        • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

          Any writer should know that a good story should be well balanced. Waving the cubbie flag on everything takes away from the articles themselves and eventually won’t appeal to the masses. If you are trying to appeal to a limited group of die hards than writing something about soriano at this stage of his career is a great idea. The facts are that his time on thecubs has produced nothing meaningful. He may or may not be a nice guy in the clubhouse. Frankly I don’t care. He showed his true colors when he defied frank Robinson when he was with the nationals and last year not accepting a trade to the giants.
          In addition his all or nothing hitting is not something that wins anything. Consistency wins championships.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            “If you are trying to appeal to a limited group of die hards than writing something about soriano at this stage of his career is a great idea.”

            If by “die hards” you mean “people who actually paid attention to how he performed in 2012,” then, yes. I agree. Thanks for the writing tip.

          • hansman1982

            [img]http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/36723852.jpg[/img]

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    His 2012 season was meaningless in my opinion. Did he help the team win more games? No. Did he personally start hitting after may 15th? Yes. Did any of his play add to a successful season? No.

    He lost me well before he came to the cubs with the nationals incident. He also lied about his age when he was younger and got caught so that was a mark against him. I’ve never been a fan of erratic play from a player on a team I root for so he’s never been on my list of players that I thought was any good.

    A guy like rizzo is consistent, hits every day and plays pretty good defense. Nothing spectacular but solid every day. Those are the guys that teams win with. Teams generally lose with a guy like soriano on the team unless of course you are the Yankees.

    • Cubbie Blues

      “His 2012 season was meaningless in my opinion. Did he help the team win more games? No.”

      You do realize he had fWAR 4.0 last year right?

      • hansman1982

        Just ignore him…there is so much incorrect about what he said, it’s unreal.

        Also, when the only thing you can ever say about the Cubs is negative, it’s time to re-evaluate your fandom.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        This is a case where this particular poster is not the only one who has problem with this basic concept. Moreover, it works both ways: bad players on good teams cannot really hurt teams because their teams won, right? The idea that a bad team would be worse without Player X or that a good team would be better without Player Y seems very difficult to grasp for a lot of people.

        The nutty thing about it to me is that if such people were to think logically (and, yes, I know that they do not), then the necessary conclusion is that all players on a winning team must be good (“if Y is not good, then how come his team wins?” as to apply to all 25 guys), and that all players on a losing team must be bad (see above).

  • Goss4cubs

    Look, there is a lot to criticize Soriano for. His lack of discipline at the plate and failure to learn how to play any position until, apparently this year. BUT, the major reason for his underperforming his contract was the health of his legs. And YES, that can be chalked up to the lack of the previous FO not doing their due diligence. So let see if we can agree on a few things:
    1. Soriano was a bad signing/contract based on his performance AND players cannot be blamed for signing the biggest contract offered to him.
    2. Soriano’s bad habits in the field and at the plate were one source of his under performing but his legs were the biggest reason, AND those habits improved with new coaching this past season.
    3. He is universally viewed as a great guy and even the greatest guys can have a bad day and frost a fan. AND it tells you exactly nothing negative about a player when they have a no trade contract and they actually employ the no trade provision.
    4. And, finally, e is good and bad in every situation and the folks who comment on this site who can’t seem to grasp that make it a little less fun to read. IMO Brett plays it down the middle with a big helping of hoping for the best for the team he loves. I can’t see anything wrong in that.

  • Another Idea

    See I see Soriano not caring about what the Cubs FO says(Epstien and Hoyer)..He knows he holds all the cards and isn’t going to accept a Trade to a Losing team and will decide what situation he accepts and if not he will stay in Chicago and I am one that has always hoped and wanted him to stay and I hope he says no unless its a Proven Winner and a World Series Contender….

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